Travel Classes In Indian Railways: 2S, SL, UR, 3A, 2A, 3E, CC & Many More

Travel Classes In Indian Railways
Travel Classes In Indian RailwaysPratidin Time

Have you tried to book a train ticket but could not understand the difference between the classes mentioned there? Well, traveling is an important part of life. And different types of tickets are suitable for different occasions. 

If you are traveling very far, it becomes extremely important to ensure that the bathrooms are hygienic. Also, you need to ensure that the sleeping area is uninterrupted. On the flipside, if you have to book a train ticket for an important guest, you may need to choose something like First AC or AC Executive Class tickets.

So, it is best to be sure about what the travel classes on the Indian Railways exactly means.

Travel Classes in Indian Railways

There are a total of 11 classes in Indian Railways. So, every ticket is definitely not the same.

In this post, we will be explaining each travel class so that the next time you are booking tickets, you are making an informed choice.

1. Unreserved General Class (UR)

Unreserved General Class (UR)
Unreserved General Class (UR)Pratidin Time

The Unreserved General Class is for those times when you could not get a good ticket on time, or you wanted to save money. But then you have to compromise with both comfort and convenience. These are mostly overcrowded, and sometimes even floors are not spared. These might be fine for short trips but are never recommended for long-distance travel. However, this is what many poor people in India can afford while traveling. This is the cheapest travel class in Indian Railways.

2. Second Seating AC (2S)

Second Seating AC (2S)
Second Seating AC (2S)Pratidin Time

The second seating, or 2S, is for cheap daytime travel and is available on most intercity and Jan Shatabdi trains. There are both reserved and unreserved seats. Despite some newer carriages having individual seats, the majority of them have cushioned bench-style seats. However, in this class, there are no accommodations for sleeping. Fans are used to cool carriages. In conclusion, it is a safer and more comfortable way of traveling compared with the Unreserved General class, which is best to avoid as much as possible. 

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3. Sleeper Class (SL)

Sleeper Class (SL)
Sleeper Class (SL)Pratidin Time

The Sleeper Class has around 72–80 berths, with 8 berths in each compartment. These are usually very noisy, crowded, and dirty. The biggest struggle in the sleeper class is finding a clean bathroom. Although, if you are lucky, you may find both western-style toilets and Indian-style toilets.

There are six beds in each of the open-plan compartments that make up the carriages. On either side of the compartments, there are three tiers of beds stacked vertically. The middle beds must be folded flat against the compartment walls during the day so that people can sit on the lower beds. Two tiers of beds are also located outside the compartments, along the aisle.

The carriage's ceiling is ventilated with fans, and the windows have bars to deter burglars since they are frequently left open.

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4. AC Chair (CC)

AC Chair (CC)
AC Chair (CC)Pratidin Time

AC Chair has a full AC coach along with an exclusively 3-by-2 seating arrangement. These are short-journey trains and maybe an alternative to buses. The space overhead is for keeping your luggage. And there are small tables attached to the back of your front seat, which can be opened when required. These are great for comfortable day travel and short journeys. 

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5. Third AC economy (3E)

Third AC economy (3E)
Third AC economy (3E)Pratidin Time

The 3E travel class is available in Duronto trains and Garib rath Express. It was an initiative by Lalu Prasad Yadav to enable poor people to travel by AC coaches. They are similar to SA seats, except that the 3E class has 6 berths and 3 side-births. This totals to 9 berths. Because of the extra side-berth, the train may be a little crowded during the day.

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6. Third AC or AC 3-tier (3A)

Third AC or AC 3-tier (3A)
Third AC or AC 3-tier (3A)Pratidin time

3A Travel class is the most preferred category of train-tickets for traveling as they provide a fairly good experience at an affordable price. Due to this, they are usually the heaviest coaches on the train. It has 8 berths in each compartment. However, the backdraw is that it is impossible for an adult to sit upright when all three berths are open. Also, there are no reading lights.

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7. First Class (FC)

First Class (FC)
First Class (FC)Pratidin Time

The First Class used to be a favorite among the rich during the late 70s and 80s. These are Non-AC coaches, yet they used to be royalty before AC coaches were invented. They have two berth coupes and two berth cabins with a door that can be locked from the inside. They are equipped with reading lamps and the cleanliness is not an issue at all. With time, people have started to travel more on the 3A class, and therefore these got phased out slowly.

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8. Second AC or AC 2-tier (2A)

Second AC or AC 2-tier (2A)
Second AC or AC 2-tier (2A)Pratidin Time

The 2AC, or the 2 Tier Air Conditioned Class, is popular among India's upper class. Since there are only four bunk beds per cabin, there is a lot more floor space. The sleeping quarters feature a double-decker bed configuration, with the beds stacked vertically on either side. There are two levels of bunk beds along the aisle outside the compartments, just like in the other classes.

The greatest advantage of buying 2AC tickets is that there are privacy curtains and reading lights, and you can avoid interaction if you wish to.

9. AC Executive Class (EC)

AC Executive Class (EC)
AC Executive Class (EC)Pratidin Time

These are analogous to business class in air travel. They are spacious due to the 2-by-2 seating arrangements, without sleeping arrangements. Travelers will feel more comfortable due to greater leg-space and wider middle walkway.

And yes! You will also be responsible for paying the catering fees when you travel on EC. EC is present in Shatabdi Express, Tejas trains, and in some double decker trains as well. 

10. Executive Anubhuti (EA)

Executive Anubhuti (EA)
Executive Anubhuti (EA)Pratidin Time

These are special trains equipped with airplane-like facilities and designed to provide travelers with a very different experience. The features are even more enhanced than those of Shatabdi trains. It does not have a sleeper berth.

But, it is a 56-seat coach arranged in a 2*2 manners with LCD screens at the front. The seats can recline, and charging sockets are available too. You will find other facilities such as automatic doors, washroom occupancy indicators, and many more. 

11. First AC (1A)

First AC (1A)
First AC (1A)Pratidin Time

The First AC sleeper class train tickets are the most expensive in India. These tickets may even cost more than plane tickets! And the facilities available here are like no other. Every compartment has a door that can be locked from the inside. The berths are spacious and dustbins are given. It looks and feels like a moving hotel room.

Also, you won’t have to worry about hygiene.  The food served here is also different than elsewhere. You will be able to order from a menu. These are fully AC coaches and have 2 coupes and 4 cabins. If you want to experience something luxurious, you could probably start here!

FAQ- Railway Classes

Is there a difference in the level of air conditioning provided in different travel classes?

Yes, there is a difference in the level of air conditioning provided in different travel classes on Indian Railways. The air conditioning in first class AC and AC 2-tier is generally more powerful and effective than in AC 3-tier and sleeper class.

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